In studying the dynamics of ant nest excavation, the nest volume has to be continuously monitored. In many laboratory studies, the excavated substrate, such as sand, was collected, and the volume of excavation was calculated by converting the weight of the collected sand into the volume. The excavated sand can be manually collected and weighed; however, manual collection is tedious, particularly when frequent collections have to be performed for a period of several days. Manual collection may also introduce disturbance to the ants. The volume of excavation can also be monitored using a video system by transferring images into volume data. Unfortunately, it requires sophisticated software customization. A simple automatic system for continuously collecting and weighing the excavated sand is described. This system does not disturb the ants while collecting data and requires no software customization. It can display the digging curves while it is still collecting data.
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Vol. 102 • No. 3